Donnie “Ahas” Nietes had a hard time battling a well-prepared Thai Komgrich Nantapech before posting a unanimous decision to bag the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight belt Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.
The longest Filipino world titleholder, relying on technical skills and connecting solid uppercuts, got into deep trouble in the fifth up to eighth round after being hit by Nantapech forcing him to retreat for safety.
“He (Nantapech) was determined, well-prepared, and inspired just what we expected,” Nietes’ trainer Edito Villamor told The Manila Times on Sunday in a phone interview. “At the same time, the Thai was durable, fast and strong. So Nietes just did the right thing.”
Although the 34-year-old Bacolod City native had a good start from the opening round up to the fourth round as he landed most of his punches, Nantapech connected viciously on Nietes in the fifth round up to the following rounds and then even bloodied his nose in the sixth round.
But Nietes kept his cool using his head in the fight.
“If we fought recklessly, we probably lose it or we could be knocked out,” added Villamor. “Round after round, he’s becoming stronger and durable. I told Nietes to keep his jab, uppercuts and kept moving away from his opponent. That’s what he did because I knew we’re ahead [in the fight].”
In the last remaining four rounds, Nietes stood tall and delivered crisp punches on his Thai opponent who missed several shots. Nantapech, 27, who ranked No. 4 by the IBF, was hit by solid combinations in the last round but remained standing after the bell.
“I think we got eight rounds, while Nantapech had four.”
After the fight, the judge from Thailand gave Nietes a favorable 115-113 score, while the Filipino judge and the Japanese judge wrote it 117-111 for the Filipino. The victory made Nietes a three-division world champion with a 40-1-4 win-loss-draw record with 22 knockouts.
Nantapech dropped to 22-4 record with 15 knockouts.
Nietes, who held the World Boxing organization (WBO) minimum weight and light flyweight belts before he transferred to the flyweight rank, has joined Manny Pacquiao (WBO welterweight) and Jerwin Ancajas (IBF super flyweight) in the elite class of current Filipino world champions.
Meanwhile, Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo scored a first round knockout win over Issa Nampepeche of Tanzania to stay undefeated in 16 bouts with 12 knockouts while Jeo Santisima blasted Indonesian Master Suro via unanimous decision to improve to 13-2 record with 11 knockouts.
Nampepeche fell to 24-8-4 record with 11 knockouts, while Suro dropped to 11-9-1 record with two knockouts.